Yasodai Selvakumaran, Humanities teacher and Leader in Professional Practice from Sydney’s Rooty Hill High School, has fit a lot into a teaching career that’s barely a decade old.
A recipient of the Commonwealth Bank Teaching awards, and finalist in the 2019 Global Teaching Awards (placing her among the top 10 teachers in the world) among other accolades, Yasodai has taken her passion and commitment to her students beyond the classroom to incorporate a mentoring role where she leads and inspires her fellow teachers.
"If we can spread and share our expertise and develop teachers, that's something that's going to have a bigger ripple effect throughout the system," she says.
Her love of teaching history and the realisation from her own schooling that “some histories are left out; they’re never told” has spurred her desire to instil a sense of social justice and educational equality in her students.
She is also a strong advocate for other teachers putting themselves forward for grants, scholarships and additional responsibilities, which in turn can lead to awards that open up "different ways of teaching and learning and having a global network to collaborate with".
"If it wasn't for a colleague actually taking the time to send me a nomination for the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards, to be honest, I probably wouldn't have applied because when I saw it, I just thought that could never be me," she admits.
"Teachers do often underestimate themselves. Part of being a mentor, working with teachers, is to help identify their strengths and to untap what they might be interested in. Encouraging people to have a go at these things I think is a really important part of that to make change at a systems level."
You can watch our video interview with Yasodai above, or to listen to the full conversation click on the podcast link below.
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